Will other cities copy Paris decision to hike parking charges for SUVs?
(The Guardian, 5 Feb 2024) Very low turnout in vote to penalise owners of large cars suggests public still needs to be won over.
Pushing a pram as they walked out of a voting station, Joanna and Louis agreed that SUVs were not suitable for a compact city like Paris. “We have a young child and we would like there to be less traffic and more space,” said Joanna, a 34-year-old consultant.
Like tens of thousands of other Parisians, the couple took part in a referendum on Sunday about whether owners of big cars should pay more to park in a city that has quickly become one of the most bike-friendly capitals in the world.
The vote came down in favour of tripling payments, and has been hailed by many as an inspiration for cities across Europe trying to make their streets safer and their air cleaner as sales of heavy vehicles soar.
“Cities such as London, Amsterdam and Copenhagen are all pioneering in improving urban environments, putting human welfare and clean air first,” said Barbara Stoll, the director of the campaign group Clean Cities.